Thursday, June 30, 2016

Friends 'better than morphine'

Public Release: 28-Apr-2016
Friends 'better than morphine'
Larger social networks release more pain-killing endorphin
University of Oxford

People with more friends have higher pain tolerance, Oxford University researchers have found.


There were also two other findings of note. Both fitter people and those with higher reported stress levels tended to have smaller social networks.

Katerina explained: 'It may simply be a question of time -- individuals that spend more time exercising have less time to see their friends. However, there may be a more interesting explanation -- since both physical and social activities promote endorphin release, perhaps some people use exercise as an alternative means to get their 'endorphin rush' rather than socialising. The finding relating to stress may indicate that larger social networks help people to manage stress better, or it may be that stress or its causes mean people have less time for social activity, shrinking their network.

'Studies suggest that the quantity and quality of our social relationships affect our physical and mental health and may even be a factor determining how long we live. Therefore, understanding why individuals have different social networks sizes and the possible neurobiological mechanisms involved is an important research topic. As a species, we've evolved to thrive in a rich social environment but in this digital era, deficiencies in our social interactions may be one of the overlooked factors contributing to the declining health of our modern society.'

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